mercredi 24 décembre 2008
I did it, I passed the United States Patent and Trademark Office Registration Exam. This is the exam for which I have been studying for six months. It was darn expensive too. All in all, it cost me about 1000$, though most of that was for the study materials, which I plan on re-selling.

I could only take the exam while in the US, so there was a quite a bit of pressure to pass it this time, since I wouldn't be able to re-take it again for another 1.5 or 2 years.

I could either take it at the USPTO office in Virginia in the summer, or at a company called Prometric all year round. This company has testing centers all over the US and administers hundreds of exams for different companies. I scheduled it with Prometric for the beginning of our vacation, mainly so that I could get it over with right away, and not be worrying about it our entire vacation. I would have felt guilty the moments that I wasn't studying.

Yesterday morning Dad drove me down to the testing center, and I checked in around 8:30. Had to show my passport and get my fingerprints and picture taken. The morning session of the test was 3 hours for 50 multiple choice questions. It doesn't sound hard, but believe me it was. It was harder than I had expected, so after the morning session I wasn't feeling too confident. I ate my lunch (1.5 peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread, a small can of Rootbeer, and a clementine) and went back in for the afternoon session.
The afternoon session seemed to go a bit better, but it still took me the entire three hours (for another 50 questions).

The questions are multiple choice, A-E. They aren't technical in nature, but you really have to know the patent law. The questions are very particular, and you have to be very careful with the wording, dates, etc.

Here are some example questions; see how you do:
1. Assuming that a rejection has been properly made final, which of the following statements is not in accordance with the patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP?
(A) An objection and requirement to delete new matter from the specification is subject to supervisory review by petition under 37 CFR 1.181.

(B) A rejection of claims for lack of support by the specification (new matter) is reviewable by appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.

(C) If both the claims and the specification contain the same new matter, and there has been both a rejection and objection by the primary examiner, the new matter issue should be decided by petition, and is not appealable.
(D) If both the claims and the specification contain the same new matter, and there has been both a rejection and objection by the examiner, the new matter issue is appealable, and should not be decided by petition.

(E) None of the above.


2. In accordance with the patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP, which of the following does not constitute prior art upon which a primary examiner could properly rely
upon in making an obviousness rejection under 35 USC 103?
(A) A U.S. patent in the applicant’s field of endeavor which was issued two years before the filing date of applicant’s patent application.
(B) A non-patent printed publication in a field unrelated to the applicant’s field of endeavor but relevant to the particular problem with which the inventor-applicant was concerned, which was published the day after the filing date of applicant’s application.
(C) A printed publication published more than 1 year before the filing date of applicant’s patent application, which publication comes from a field outside the applicant’s field of endeavor but concerns the same problem with which the applicant-inventor was concerned.
(D) A printed publication in the applicant’s field of endeavor published 3 years before the filing date of applicant’s patent application.
(E) A U.S. patent which issued more than 1 year before the filing date of applicant’s patent application, which the Office placed in a different class than the applicant’s patent application, but which concerns the same problem with which the applicant-inventor was concerned, and which shows the same structure and function as in the applicant’s patent application.

3. In a reexamination proceeding a non-final Office action dated November 8, 2001 set a shortened statutory period of 2 months to reply. The patent owner, represented by a registered practitioner, filed a response on March 7, 2002, which included an amendment of the claims. No request for an extension of time was received. As of May 8, 2002, which of the following actions would be in accord with the patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP?
(A) The registered practitioner should file a request and fee for an extension of time of
two months.
(B) The registered practitioner should file a petition for revival of a terminated reexamination proceeding showing the delay was unavoidable or unintentional, and the appropriate petition fee for entry of late papers.
(C) The primary examiner responsible for the reexamination should mail a Notice of Allowance and grant a new patent. The patent owner’s failure to timely respond to the outstanding Office action does not affect the allowability of the claims in the patent.

(D) The examiner should provide an Office action based upon the claims in existence prior to the patent owner’s late amendment, and mail a Final Office action.
(E) The registered practitioner should request an extension of time of four months, and file a Notice of Appeal.

Of the 100 questions, 10 are beta questions that are being tested for possible inclusion on future exams. You don't know which ones they are, and they don't count towards your score, but they might be the ones that you have absolutely no clue on. So of the 90 questions that count, you have to get 70% correct.

Anyway, at the end of the 3-hour afternoon session, I was able to get my results. I was quite nervous, because I didn't have a strong feeling either way, that I failed or that I passed with flying colors. The results came up on the screen, saying "Preliminary results show that you have passed the United States Patent and Trademark Office Registration Exam".
I read it over several times, just to be sure of what I was seeing.
The results will now be sent to the USPTO, then they will mail me the official results, then I have to fill out a form, and pay more money. Then they will post my name on their website under the heading:
The following list contains the names of persons seeking for registration to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Final approval for registration is subject to establishing to the satisfaction of the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline that the person seeking registration is of good moral character and repute. 37 CFR § 11.7 Accordingly, any information tending to affect the eligibility of any of the following persons on moral, ethical, or other grounds should be furnished to the Director of Enrollment and Discipline on or before (date)
at the following address: Mail Stop OED, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-145

Basically, if someone sees my name and knows of some great moral transgression that I have committed, they are supposed to contact the office and tell them. The office then does an investigation to decide whether it is true and whether it should bar me from becoming a patent agent.

Speaking of which, some of you are maybe wondering what the heck a patent agent actually is.
A patent agent is someone who has a math/science/engineering background who can write patents and file them with the USPTO. Then you "work" (more like argue and fight) with the office, trying to get your patents approved. It is a very technical and meticulous line of work.
A patent attorney is the same as a patent agent, but someone that has also passed the bar exam for a state, but also must have a technical background.

Foreigners can pass the USPTO exam if they are living in the US and also have a patent certification from another country, but if they go back to a foreign country, they cannot continue to practice in front of the USPTO. As I am American, I can pass the test and continue to practice even from a foreign country. Therefore, I will be the only one in my office in France who can do this. I did not tell my boss that I was going to take the exam. I wanted it to be a surprise if I passed, and if I didn't pass, well, I didn't want him to think the less of me.

Now that the exam is over, I can relax and enjoy my vacation.
Well, except for the Killer Cold From Toronto.

16 commentaires:

Milk Jam a dit…

CONGRATS! that's fantastic news!!! :-)

merry christmas!

Frou Frou a dit…

Wow COngratulations! Very interesting!

Starman a dit…

Congratulations! All that hard work paid off.

lewis a dit…

Hot damn. Congrats. I'll be sure to send them a note :-)

Starman a dit…

Bonnes Fêtes !

amerigirl a dit…

way to go!

Gry a dit…

That is totally cool! Congratulations to you!! :)

Dedene a dit…

Megan, Congrats! How will you use your diploma here in France?
Bonne Année

Balanced Melting Pot a dit…

Congratulations! It never ceases to amaze me the many the interesting professions that exist. It makes that much harder to settle on one :-)

Jess a dit…

Congrats! I hope your boss appreciates your efforts!

Notre Vie Juteuse a dit…

megan - congratulations! Such wonderful news. Geez, those questions, my my....hard. But you did it and it's over and now you can relax. My family is in Michigan and they tell me it's freezing!!!! Stay warm.

Betty C. a dit…

Félicitations! And I'm wishing you a wonderful 2009!

Starman a dit…

Bonne Année !

Astrid a dit…

Congratulations!! And Happy New Year :)

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